The Whole Story On Whole Grains

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend that at least half of the grains we eat should be whole grains and that we should eat more whole grains by replacing refined grains with whole grains in our diet. So what are whole grains, why are they so important to our health and how can we eat more of them? 

Grain kernels contain three parts, the bran, germ and endosperm. Each of these three parts provides important and unique nutrients. When grains are refined, the bran and germ are removed which unfortunately also removes many nutrients such as antioxidants, fiber, iron and B vitamins. Although many refined grains are enriched with nutrients, whole grains are often rich in fiber and other nutrients that may be missing in refined grains. A diet rich in whole grains provides many health benefits such as reduced risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes, promoting bowel regularity and helping with weight management.

Fortunately, if you want to include more whole grains in your diet, there are many delicious products available in the aisles of your local No Frills Supermarket. Try substituting refined grain products with whole grain varieties such as brown rice, whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta or cereal made with whole grains. To identify foods that are whole grains, it is best to turn the product over and read the label rather than looking at the foods color or the name of the product. For example brown bread is not necessarily made with whole grains and products labeled “seven-grain” or “multi-grain” are probably not whole grains. Look at the ingredient list and select foods with one of these ingredients listed first: whole oats, whole wheat, whole rye, whole grain corn, whole grain barley, brown rice, oatmeal or rolled oats. (For a complete list of whole grain ingredients visit: Also look at the Nutrition Facts label and choose products with the most fiber. 

For a delicious breakfast or snack that includes whole grain cereal, try this recipe for Day Break Parfaits.

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